5 Bizarre spanish traditions
1. La Tomatina - Buñol, Valencia
The origin of this massive "battle" of tomatoes goes back to a fight of youngsters that took place in 1945 and, since then, they have not stopped celebrating.
More than 100,000 kg of tomatoes are launched in this peculiar battle that colour the Buñol’s streets in red. This curious war has been held for 70 years and is one of the most famous parties outside of Spain. At 11 in the morning a rocket is launched that announces the beginning of the battle.
Place: Buñol, Valencia
Date: August 28
2. Wine Fight - Haro, La Rioja
Within the Haro festivities dedicated to San Juan, San Felices and San Pedro, at the end of June, the Battle of Wine is framed. The historical origin of this litigation centres on a territorial conflict between the Burgos town of Miranda de Ebro and the Rioja de Haro over the possession of the area of the Bilibio cliffs.
For the dispute of this site and to maintain its dominion, the residents of the Rioja town of Haro must come forward to every date of San Pedro, on June 29 to the Bilibio cliffs. There, the Trustee of the town will place the banner of the city at the top of these rocks, as a sign of possession. If the people from Haro’s town do not attend this meeting for a year, they would lose control of this area and would go to the jurisdiction of neighbouring Miranda de Ebro.
In 1965 the honorary title of Tourist Interest Festival was granted to this celebration. And on March 22, 2011 it was declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest. So now, more than ever, you have to enjoy this party. Long live the Battle of Wine!
Place: Haro, La Rioja
Date: June 29
3. Colacho party - Burgos
It is a traditional festival that is celebrated every year in the Burgos town of Castrillo de Murcia, belonging to the municipality of Sasamón, in Burgos. It has been held uninterruptedly since 1621.
The Colacho has been jumping in Castrillo de Murcia (Burgos) since the 17th century. The Colacho is a masked man dressed in yellow and red that has an oxtail in his hand. It appears in this Burgos town every year, on Corpus Day. Run through the town whipping the oxtail to its neighbours. In its path, flower altars are prepared on which newborns lie. The Colacho jumps over them again and again. Why? This man symbolizes the devil and jumps over babies to free them from evil and sin.
This strong day is always celebrated on Sunday, June 23, making a religious procession in which thousands of people congregate in the town hall and walk the main streets, as is tradition.
For that day the neighbours decorate their houses with mantles and roses, and on those altars mattresses are also placed on which the children born that year are laid down, with the intention of protecting them from evil, just before the procession passes.
Date: June 23
4. La Romería de los ataúdes - Pontevedra
Every July 29, at the end of the Mass held in honour of the patron saint of the town of Santa Marta de Ribarteme (municipality of As Neves, Pontevedra, Galicia), the bells ring slowly as coffins carried by family and friends of the person inside go out of the town church. Thus, begins “La Romería de los ataúdes.” Actually called “Romería de Santa Marta”, the peculiarity of this act, solemn and inevitably touching, is that those who go inside the coffin are alive! They are living dead, penitents who, given a circumstance of serious illness, their own or that of a family member, promised Santa Marta that if they were saved through their intersection, they would offer themselves in life to death, as if it were their own funeral.
If the devotee to the edge of death recovers health, it is because the prayers were heard and he has received another opportunity to continue in this world. In thanks, on Holy Day, the person enters a coffin and is part of a procession that leaves from the church to go around the town.
Date: July 29
5. The Feast of Flours - Ibi, Alicante
The Feast of Flours or ‘New Justice’. Achieving the civil power of the people, armed with flour, eggs and firecrackers, by blow off skirmishes and "fierce" battles is a fun tradition that is celebrated every year in Ibi (Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana).
The precise origin of “Los Enharinados” is unknown, although some place it in the 16th century. At the end of the fifties this holiday ceased to be celebrated, but in 1981 it resurfaced strongly and finally reached its deserved recognition when it was declared a 2009 festival of Autonomous Tourist Interest.
During this crazy day, a group of 14 insurgent neighbours, dressed in quirky outfits and a painted face, subject the Ibi population to a shabby government hit by flour, eggs and drunken rockets.
At night, this nice day ends with Dansà, an event in which regional dances are represented. Participating in this event are women dressed in luxurious attire, men wearing elegant capes and els tapats (the covered ones), peculiar characters that are disguised in a quirky way and covered with layers and masks.
Place: Ibi, Alicante
Date: December 28
Santamaría D. El Colacho hace méritos para recuperar el ‘Interés Nacional’. El Correo de Burgos. Published June 4, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
E.V. Pita. Desfile de ocho ataúdes en la «romería de los muertos» de Santa Marta de Ribarteme. Published July 30, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.